Ecuadorian wrap-up

We’ve left Ecuador and we’re now in Peru.  But, before I move on to writing about our newest adventures, I wanted to go back and cover a few things that we haven’t posted about yet.

We spent 5 days in and around Latacunga, Ecuador.  We used Latacunga as a base to visit both the Cotopaxi volcano and the crater lake at Quilotoa.  Our hiking boots certainly got a workout at both Cotopaxi and Quilotoa!

The hike up the Cotopaxi volcano was one of the most physically challenging things I’ve ever done.  Not only were we hiking up a very steep incline through deep sand and rocks, but we were fighting to walk into some of the strongest wind I’ve ever experienced.  We estimate it must have been at least a 50 mile per hour wind.  At one point a gust literally blew me backwards and I had to be caught by the Italian gentleman hiking behind me!  It was freezing and rainy and the wind was punishing… and breathing is very difficult at that altitude (over 12,000 feet up!)

Please note the band of clouds to the left of the volcano. That's the weather that we climbed through!

All smiles at the start of the hike.

We had really, really hoped to get higher up (we were aiming for the start of the glacier) but once we reached the refuge we realised we really couldn’t (and shouldn’t!) go any further.  In fact, no one was being allowed to head up any higher that day due to the weather.  Even though we didn’t get as far as we wanted we still felt really proud of ourselves for reaching that point.  The climb gave me new insight into what serious mountain climbers (Hi, Gill and Darrell!) must go through.  Personally, I think they’re mad!

We survived!

The hike at the crater lake at Quilotoa a few days later was much easier!  Quilotoa is an inactive volcano with a beautiful teal blue lake in the crater.  Up on top the wind was strong and I was fearing a repeat of Cotopaxi, but once we got down into the crater the wind was blocked and the hike was beautiful.  Our legs were still a bit shaky from Cotopaxi, so we didn’t go all the way down to the lake.  Instead we went about half way, then found a rock with a view and sat for a while enjoying the quiet and the way the wind danced across the water of the lake.  It was gorgeous.

Excited to be hiking DOWN for a change!

Enjoying the view!

After our adventures in Latacunga we were ready for a little rest and relaxation!  We flew from Quito to Manta and took a bus down to Puerto Lopez on the west coast of Ecuador.  We spent several days on the beach and took a day trip out to Isla de la Plata.

Isla de la Plata is 45km off the coast of Puerto Lopez and is home to thousands of different rare birds… including fragates, albatrosses, and my personal favourite, the blue-footed boobies.  How can you not love an animal that has blue feet and is called a boobie??  We did a 3 hour walk around the island to see the birds and the coast line.  On the boat trip back to the mainland we came across a pod of 5 whales and watched them swimming and jumping and playing around.  It was a great end to our day.

Sweaty hikers!

Look at the feet on that boobie!

And now… we’re in Lima, Peru getting ready for our next set of adventures!

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